Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Please do not blow."

This past weekend, I went along with my fellow Bay Area folk to celebrate a local institution's 75th Birthday, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. I could not pass up free museum admission. While wading through the crowds, I came across a beautiful Alexander Calder mobile in their Anniversary Show. Being face to face with another one of his masterpieces, it reminded me of one of the foundational beliefs of why I am going into museum work.
Calder is definitely one of my more influential American artists in my canon of art favorites. He used industrial materials to create mobiles, stationary and movable. Also, his attention to color balance and fun (ie, the circus) in his work are amazing. I was first introduced to Calder's work in my Basic Art class with Mr. Dean, freshman year of high school. This was to be only one of two art classes during my tenure at Kirkwood High. Yet, it had a profound impact on me. Still to this day, those artists featured in my second semester of high school stay with me as I continue my art career. During the class, we were shown a documentary about Calder's life and work. I will never forget during one of the interviews hearing Mr. Calder say that if you ever saw one his mobiles in a museum, just give it a little blow to make it move. His mobiles were meant to move and interact with the space. So, every time I have seen one of his pieces (the St. Louis Art Museum, the Tate Modern, the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art), I have given them a little blow, to just make them gracefully move. The SF MOMA was no different and I blew and made the mobile dance for a split second. I moved on to Jackson Pollack's "Male and Female," but in the distance I heard a security guard yell, "Don't blow, don't blow." I looked over my shoulder and I saw a small child trying to make the mobile move. And the child hurried back to their parents in fear. The child has now learned their lesson to never blow on a wind mobile ever again. I don't think that makes much sense, even in a museum. I will never stop blowing and will respectfully not listen to museum guards. I understand why they are there and what they are protecting. But, never stop blowing. Never stop interacting with art. The artist told me so.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure how google will interpret your title.
    -Paul in Sydney